Lama Fraser

Fraser in his mother’s bed said, “I just want to keep curling up and go round and round and get smaller and smaller until I am no longer part of the world”. “Where will you disappear to?” his mother asked, “I will be up in space mummy”, “And will you still be tiny?” “No I will be very very big that I’ll be everywhere.”
Fraser, aged 4

Fraser in Space

 

I was just sitting there and went into this meditation state and went to a really beautiful place, it made me feel good for hours.
Jim, aged 84

 

 
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The God Particle – by Mark Sutherland


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The God Particle
by Mark Sutherland

The search for God is over.

Scientists have discovered the existence of the Higgs Boson, a tiny, sub-atomic particle that permeates the universe, performing miracles, healing the sick and striking down unbelievers. As I write, scientists are converging on Switzerland in a mass pilgrimage to worship at the Large Hadron Collider, many bringing along elderly and infirm relatives who they hope will be touched by its healing powers.

Stephen Hawking leads the procession. There is a spring in his step as he breaks into a chorus of Ten Green Protons in his rich baritone, while the crowd gleefully joins in. Richard Dawkins is among them, bearing aloft a piece of toast, on which appears an astonishing image of the electronic signature of the Higgs Boson, perfectly rendered in marmalade. It appeared to him on his breakfast plate only this morning, and he knew instantly what it meant.

Above all, there’s a palpable sense of relief across the scientific community, that the version of reality they have been peddling for the last fifty years seems to have been vindicated. For now. But does it prove, as many have for years claimed, in anticipation of just such a discovery, that there is no God?

 

For people who claim to possess some of the greatest minds on the planet, Western scientists seem to have a remarkably naïve and childlike view of what the idea of God might encompass. Every time a scientist announces this or that discovery finally proves there is no God, they get a smug, self-satisfied look, and you just know that they are mentally driving a wooden stake through the heart of that capricious, white-bearded old codger, sitting on a cloud in Michelangelo’s famous painting, Creation. Or, more likely, some white-haired old scripture teacher who gave them a hard time at school.

This God is invariably human, vengeful, fallible, arbitrarily dispensing wrath or mercy, as the occasion requires – and invariably getting it wrong. If God exists, they often say, then why does He allow… (insert pet injustice here)?

They seem to have no inkling that, for many, if not most people, the idea of God has evolved considerably in recent times, through the influence of Gaia theory, Buddhism and other religions, and now encompasses a range of alternative views. Strict adherence to the Creation myth is confined to the extremist end of the Christian spectrum, while everyone else, bar the atheists, it seems, has moved on. Most modern believers, I’d wager, have no difficulty reconciling the co-existence of evolution with that of some higher power.

Historically, science justified its existence in terms of the study of nature, the better to appreciate God’s works. The Biblical injunction that man ‘take dominion over the beasts of the field, the fish of the seas and the birds of the sky,’ and assume sovereignty over the Earth’s resources, created a powerful moral justification for man to harness these resources for his own use. This is the Judeo-Christian concept of imago dei, which asserts that, since man was created in God’s image, His will and purpose is best expressed through man’s works.

It is this ethic that made Christianity the pre-eminent colonising force of the Enlightenment, and enabled the massive expansion of Western technological capability to its present status as the world’s most influential culture: the God-given right to plunder the Earth’s riches without restraint, in order to furnish ourselves with an ever greater degree of material comfort.

All people rely ultimately on natural resources for their survival. But, while Christian cultures tended to view nature as an adversary, and to celebrate its conquest as a triumph of man’s ingenuity and intelligence, in many religions a sense of humility remains vital to their continued enjoyment of Earth’s bounty. In many non-Western cultures, the sacred and the scientific are celebrated equally: prayers and offerings are made daily for cars and other machinery, for instance, that they may continue to function, just as they are for a good harvest or the health of loved ones. While this might be deeply unscientific, it nonetheless acknowledges the role that fate and chance continue to play in all our lives, despite our supposed technological sophistication. While welcoming the benefits of technology, the part it plays is nonetheless refracted through the prism of religious and cultural continuity.

Not so in the West, where, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, technological advancement has been a key driver of cultural change, often at great social cost. Up to the middle of the 19th century, these changes were invariably sanctioned by the Church as an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the advancement of Christian civilisation. That no one much talks in these terms today does not indicate that this mindset has changed in any way, simply that, over the century and a half since Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was published, science has become the dominant partner, and Western society now bows to no God. Technological sophistication has become an end in itself, and our Faith in science and its works is absolute.

We are still relentlessly conquering and subjugating nature but, as a culture, we no longer remember why. Our guiding principles have become synonymous with those of science itself: rational thinking, relative values and other morally neutral terms that elevate utilitarian concepts like efficiency and productivity over human ones, such as personal fulfilment and the common good.

Nonetheless, human concerns remain as important as ever, and there is an ever-increasing fear among the general populace that it will all end in tears. If modern Western culture can be said to share any common moral ground, it would seem to be a nagging sense of guilt for our treatment of the natural environment, and the damage we, as a species, are causing it; a growing awareness that we are not Gods, after all, but, like the beasts of the field, still rely on clean air, clean soil and clean water for our survival.

But while the awareness of a need to find sustainable solutions to this dilemma continues to grow, few of us any longer look to the Church for answers. Indeed, such is our Faith in science that we are loathe to describe the problem in moral terms, but prefer to see it as a logistical and technical challenge.

But whether science holds the answers to the problems it has helped create, as many people believe it must, remains to be seen. Many feel that any lasting solution will only come from a fundamental change of outlook, by working in harmony with natural systems, rather than continually trying to subvert them. But, like the Church before it, science has too much invested in the status quo to begin changing fundamentals. For all its focus on technology and modernity, for all its bold opinion of itself, Western science is, in many ways, still stuck in a medieval mindset: conquering, exploiting and discarding with God-like impunity; the last defenders of the Faith.

 

Interestingly, the evolution of the idea of God has much to do with the evolution of science. Before the first attempts at agriculture – arguably the first applied science – some twelve thousand years ago, all the world’s peoples were animists. We worshipped the spirits of animals and rivers and mountains and thunder, exactly as today’s remaining primitive cultures do. The shift to agriculture precipitated a shift in religious beliefs. As man acquired greater control over his environment, so his Gods evolved to more closely resemble man himself. The Gods of Harvest, and War and Commerce began to appear. As civilisation grew, this idea was refined and limited to the one all-powerful God of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

But when Galileo proved that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe, but revolved around the Sun, the idea of God became destined to evolve once more. In the four centuries since, science has painted a picture of the Universe in which man is infinitesimally insignificant in the wider scheme of things. As a consequence, the Christian image of God as an all-powerful man no longer commands the respect it once did.

But it wasn’t until man went into space in the 1960s, permitting the first aerial photographs of the planet, that we were able to properly see ourselves in this new context. Enter James Lovelock, a research chemist working for NASA who, in 1975, published his Gaia Hypothesis. Lovelock noted that the Earth itself, when viewed in situ, resembled nothing so much as a living, breathing organism, somehow regulating its own climate and atmosphere in order to perfectly maintain the necessary qualities for the long-term sustenance of life.

In other words, the planet was alive. Named, somewhat cheekily, for the Greek goddess of the Earth, Gaia provided the first convincing image of what a higher form of intelligence than our own might look like.

Naturally enough, Gaia was dismissed as an untestable heresy by the scientific establishment, who railed at the implication that a spinning orb of rock could command any sort of intelligence at all. Many ridiculed the idea, as though Lovelock were proposing the existence of an all-powerful deity who somehow inhabited the planet’s core. This is either disingenuous, or just plain dumb. As Aristotle noted, two and a half thousand years ago, there are degrees of intelligence.

All living things regulate their own body temperature, absorb physical trauma and repair themselves; they can identify and find nutrients and are able to reproduce. This is the lowest form of intelligence, a de facto definition of life itself, which Aristotle called Will and Understanding. It is inherent in all life forms, from the humblest microscopic organisms to the largest mammals. To accord the planet the wherewithal to do this is not to re-imagine the Earth as some sort of vengeful, medieval God, but simply to note that it exists consciously on some level, as an entity in its own right. As a form of intelligence, it may be no more sentient than an amoeba. Rather, it is the scale on which it is imagined that is significant: Gaia constitutes a revolution in thought to rival that of Aristotle himself.

Despite resistance from the scientific establishment, the theory captured the imagination of many in the burgeoning environmental movement and made a lot of instinctive sense to many ordinary people. As an idea, it offers a convincing challenge to the insensible randomness of the doctrine of Natural Selection, without in any way denying the substance of evolutionary theory. And, despite its ideological objections, science has not been able to disprove Gaia’s central premise: that the Earth’s chemistry, climate and biological systems share a symbiotic relationship that is complex, fluid and essentially enigmatic, like the nature of life itself.

To accept Gaia is to grant the planet a degree of respect, as we would any living thing, and to accept a measure of responsibility for its continued health. Though religion itself has become almost a pejorative term among the educated classes, the increasingly moral focus of environmental concerns across a broad spectrum of Western society, and the corresponding lack of influence wielded by the old, paternal Christian model, provides a niche that Gaia seems perfectly suited to fill. At once humbling and inclusive, it has the potential to unite our species under a sense of common obligation.

At any rate, Gaia seems much more likely than the Higgs Boson to offer a way forward. While science clings to the idea of itself and its achievements as the apotheosis of God’s creation, the Higgs Boson is really just business as usual for the scientific establishment. We are all now locked in to its vision, whether we like it or not. The world is overcrowded, its resources overtaxed, our financial and political systems strained. The nexus between science and industry has turned much of the planet into a giant industrial accident just waiting to happen and, for many, the fear of impending cataclysm, be it industrial, political or environmental, is ever present.

Perhaps it won’t happen. Perhaps science will discover the magic bullet that provides renewable energy at no cost to the environment, an end to all wars, a cure for all disease and a way to control our climate. Perhaps Western culture will not over-reach, but will one day rule the Universe, and we will all live forever and fly to distant galaxies for our holidays.

Or perhaps we will just muddle along, allowing computers to assume more of our day to day responsibilities, while the rivers and seas choke up with rubbish and the air becomes unbreathable. No doubt science will have invented edible plastics by then, and million-year concrete to contain toxic spills, and we will all live underground to avoid the deadly radiation pounding through the depleted atmosphere. But it will be alright, because, thanks to the Higgs Boson, discovered on that glorious day in 2012, our computer power will be unsurpassed, allowing commerce and pornography to continue without pause.

Einstein predicted, in the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, that the next war would be fought with weapons of unimaginable destructive power. The war after that, he said, will be fought with sticks and stones.

If he’s right, perhaps, as a species, we will come full circle, from animism back to animism in a little over twelve millennia. Perhaps then Gaia will make sense. Perhaps then we will understand that our innate need to find moral purpose in our lives is not some vestige of primitive ignorance, but a unique responsibility that we alone on Earth have been entrusted with.

Perhaps then we will see that the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the seas are not man’s sole dominion but, like ourselves, are part of something bigger, whose ultimate purpose we can only imagine. If the planet is alive, for instance, how might it reproduce? We may even discover that the solar system, the galaxy, the very Universe, are all self-regulating organisms: an infinite hierarchy of life ascending in ever increasing circles, from the tiniest amoeba to the edges of farthest space.

– Mark Sutherland
 

Mark Sutherland’s website www.marksutherlandart.com

 
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Meetings with remarkable men – David Hykes

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Photos from "The Invisible Universe" by David Malin

“He who makes music does not himself create it, but merely opens the door to a greater or lesser extent,
through which we hear the music of eternity.”

The Science of Consciousness
The Harmonic Choir performed in a small church near Circular Quay in Sydney in the late eighties. We went along to the performance not knowing what to expect. At the time, little was known of David Hykes’ work.

After a short meditation with just a small gathering of people in attendance, the group performed. It wasn’t a “choir” in the traditional sense, just four or five people standing in a circle and no musical instruments. They began quietly and slowly to create a strong sound resonance and vibration that eventually harmonised to introduce what appeared to be another high pitch sound that could be heard as part of the groups chanting and yet clearly distinguishable from the sound created by the group. It was as if a channel had been formed into the cosmos, opening a portal and allowing a high-pitched sound to enter the performance and lift the sounds to another level.

It was a unique and memorable experience and an evening that those in attendance will never forget. Afterwards we met David and the group and thanked them for the incredible moving experience that we all shared.

A year or so later we met up with David in New York. He was rehearsing in Saint John The Divine’s Cathedral for an upcoming performance and invited us to sit in on the rehearsals. The Cathedral is a beautiful building with subtle acoustics. David and the Harmonic Choir were rehearsing in a large room away from the main Cathedral area.

We sat in the rehearsals in what appeared to be a timeless space totally absorbed in the harmonics of the sounds created by this unique group.

Afterwards, along with David’s wife Michelle and members of the choir, we went to dinner.

I spoke with David about making a film on “The White Island” in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and suggested that the Harmonic Choir’s unusual sounds would be perfect for what we had in mind. He was very humble and offered the use of the music when the film was completed.

We never made the film – well not in an objective sense. But in a way the film was already in existence, more than likely is the same place his music originates from.

In the higher more subtle realms everything already exists. Like the channel created by the Harmonic Choir we just have to sound the right note and it will open and appear for us. Who knows, perhaps “The White Island” is ready to materialise for all to see right now. Like the beautiful higher vibrational sounds created and channelled by David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir its all there waiting for us when we are ready to listen and hear, look and see.

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Music from the Heart of the Cosmos
HARMONIC MEDITATIONS By David Hykes

David Hykes’ Harmonic Meditations has the rare musical power to help heighten consciousness just through attentive listening. Hykes is the legendary composer and musician who introduced Western audiences to the “throat singing” of Tuva, Tibet and Mongolia, collaborating with the Dalai Lama and the Gyuot monks. The universal sacred music he has developed, the Harmonic Chant, is centered on the possibility that “the heart can open to its true, deepest level, the mind can find its luminous original nature, and the harmony is omnipresent.” Here are ten compositions that can help open you to deep states of expanded consciousness, in resonance with the vibrational frequencies of the cosmos itself.

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David Hykes – The Harmonic Choir

“It will allow you to listen with your heart”

Since bathing in Harmonic chant, a true abode of the spirit; I have made a lifelong study of true healing sounds which are an integral part of my medical practise. My wife Laura and I have sat with Gregorian chanting monks in France, Canada, and across America. We have sat with the Gyuto monks chanting in Dharamsala, and found in all cases of sacred music a profound paradox; the monks chant in order to learn to better listen. What do they listen for? They listen for the inaudible – whether it be the word of God or the reality of another spiritual quest. Certain sounds open our spiritual ears, as Dr Alfred Tomatis, another true original in the world of sound therapies taught me years ago. If he is accurate in claiming, ” the ear builds, organizes and nourishes the nervous system,” then I want those I love ( and that includes you too, dear reader ) to hear more Hykes! As “like cures like” in classical homeopathy, so too perhaps can Harmonic Chant bring harmony in our lives.

I commend this extraordinary series of performances to the listener because it will help you quiet down and open up; it will help you find some real breathing room; and it will allow you to listen with your heart. Because it is entirely unique and catches the soul unawares and unprepared, the sounds tip us up, way up, delicately onto a new plane of growth and love and entire delight in the moment.

Bradford S. Weeks M.D.,
The Weeks Clinic
www.weeksmd.com
Clinton Whidbey Island WA USA.

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Harmonic Meditations
For Your Silent Original Listening, for Your Radiant Original Presence

“The quieter we are, the closer we get”
by David Hykes

Luminous Void,
We saw each other,
Only one remains.

Harmonic Chant is an enlightenment – dedicated musical practise, a universal sacred music open to all, centered on the possibility that the heart can open to its true, deepest level, that the mind can find its luminous original nature, and the harmony is omnipresent.

The soundly – silent Harmonic Presence path works with concentrated musical force, full spectrum listening, and silent awareness, opening to the harmonic nature of all sound and listening, all voices, and the universe itself.

The luminous primordial awareness – listening, silent – comes first. The quieter we are, the closer we get. The emphasis on silent awareness and attunement, on the harmonization and accompaniment at the heart of all “joyful noise” helps the Harmonic Chant experience to open beyond immediate self to “chant locally but listen globally.” Sound listening awareness can be a moving, luminous lens to help find greater harmony everywhere along the wave front of existence. The sounds, the vibrations, you hear and feel are your own silent listening singing.

The harmonic axis stretches from finest spirit to deepest matter, from the absolute original vastness to the first stirring in the emptiness. This even, homogenous harmonic presence, the selfless suchness of the spectral universe, the primal utterance, resounds still at every scale from there to here, from here to there, in the sweeping breath of the heavens, from Earth to the infinite in a timeless and gentle wave.

In one example of yogic work practised during Harmonic Presence retreats, after the necessary preparatory exercises, the in-breath stretches up to a highest luminous point and the down-breath sweeps out and through the body space, an ongoing pranic nourishment of the inner being. The highest harmonic point in the dome aperture allows a down-pouring of the spirit throughout the body space, offered as a resonant realm of blessings to all nature and being.

The so-called esoteric experience level only begins when the egotistical and explosive nature of the “me, myself and minefield” is quieted down – one might even say toned down – enough to be silent, though absorption in its own heart-felt need for inner work. It also depends in part on an emotional opening, possible when I can humbly admit my own living emptiness, and therefore can find the help I need. The universe always answers when the call rings true. The idiosyncratic master Gurdjieff liked to speak of “self-initiation.” Self-knowledge appears when I am humble enough, empty enough, quiet enough, to really receive.

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In the beginning was the listening


In the sonic harmonic is the breath, in the breath is the listening, in the listening is the space, in the space is the silence, in the silence is the awareness, in the awareness is the light, in the light is the ultimate ground, the Absolute.
By taking the path of return, the path of pre-incarnation, you arrive at the source of your consciousness and of all this manifestation.

The space you’re in – is harmonic space. The harmonic vibrations, sung or unsung, are one with the space. The vibrations makes the space and the space makes the vibrations. The consciousness is a blend of the space and the luminosity. Luminosity has a sound. The correct balance of all the elements, the vibrational ecology, allows the smooth, even state of non-separation to reappear. The even sensation of body as space and space as body, the luminous space of non-separation is experienced by the silent witness consciousness. The mind is quiet and is just seeing-light. Seeing-light and listening-sound are the companions of consciousness in this world and the one before and after. The various delights and benedictions occur spontaneously once the ground experience has acquired some stability.

Meantime you still need a path that purifies, meaning it leads to humility and openness. The silent state is a humble one – “Thy will be done.” Reality is already harmonic; there is just the one step of opening to it.

Sensations, thoughts, emotions all arise and are perceived spatially as immanent to the ground, and are reabsorbed.

The body and the surrounding space are like one block of presence, one vibration. There is no sense of body expanding, for self is just witnessing silent consciousness. There is no sense of space penetrating, as there is only unified awareness.

The purpose served by the Harmonic presence work is to help you take that step backward, into yourself, letting go of the ceaseless outward flowing of attention, the protection of the “outer world” – let it go. A step forward, into Reality – perfect. Leave behind the endlessly echoing old thoughts, old feelings, and old patterns. The naked body of awareness is one with the elements – light, space, sound, and silence.

The “Harmonic Meditations” are for you, your practise, your awakening, for the songline of your innermost nature. You can stop, look and listen in a new way, one that is familiar to you but which requires your wholehearted participation. In a way, it’s like listening back, way, way back, like those telescopes that see almost back to the beginning of the universe, as if all this were an echo, seen in a light that is outside of time. Deep and still in the heart of the present where the universe and awareness begin.

The silence listens, the song is silent, the listening sings.

Silent listening is crucial. The most basic meditation view here is of the reunited, unseparated quality of silence, listening and vibration-sound. The possibility of an evenness in the field of awareness where sense of separate body and space is dissolved back into unified presence. That evenly recognised omnipresence may be perceived as the light of awareness that is the source of everything. If infuses and creates all being, all that is. It is present there at the first threshold, as the very first stirring of vibration, the very first vibration, whether of the universe or oneself. All is one. And something stirs.

The quieter we are, the closer we get – to the real. Great silence makes for great music.

 

CD available from The Harmonic Presence Foundation www.harmonicpresence.org

Space photos from “The Invisible Universe” by David Malin
Produced by Callaway Editions
Little, Brown and Company
Available at www.barnesandnoble.com

 
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A beautiful start to the day

Autumn has arrived. It’s cool and overcast and very still. I can hear the kangaroos nearby – they seem to know when I am awake.

There are perhaps fifteen in all, mostly females with a few young ones nearby. All have joeys in their pouches. I feed them macropod pellets. As the pellets fall into the tin bowls other roos come hopping into the feeding area, they have acute hearing. All up with the few wallabies there are around twenty-five kangaroos. I walk through them within arms reach, some brush up against me, I scratch a few wallabies underneath their chin – they are without fear.

Roos being fed

My father played in a dance band when we were young. Our family moved from Redfern to a beachside suburb near Maroubra – my two younger sisters and mother and father. The suburban brick house had a big backyard. Dad would often go to Scone for the weekend and play music in the local hall for the farmers. One time he came back with a baby kangaroo – its mother had been shot. We named the roo Ambrose. He would hang in the house and when he felt like it hopped through the opened back door and out into the yard. We always kept the back door open – often he would come bolting in and hop around the house. On winters nights he would fall over in front of the radiator until his fur would start to smoke from the heat. Often he would sleep with us and he knew how to take the lid off the biscuit tin and help himself to the biscuits. We had an FJ Holden and when we needed supplies we’d drive into the nearby village. We always took Ambrose with us and when mum and dad went shopping we’d hang out in the car with the windows down and Ambrose would poke his head out at the people passing by. Not many people in Maroubra Junction had seen a kangaroo before. It was a pretty amazing time. He became one of the family. As he started to get bigger my father was concerned and decided to take him back out into the bush and release him on a friends property. It was the saddest days of our lives. We watched the FJ drive off with Ambrose – we were crying our eyes out.

Grandfather and Father
Grandfather and Father

I walk around the garden and pick a few flowers. There’s a late burst of frangipani and a few yellow roses in the garden and the two tibouchina trees are just about to burst open with a profusion of indigo flowers – their colour is striking. Miniature dahlias, roses, tibouchina and even lantana (which I love, though most farmers call it a weed) adorn my desk as I write this story.

I often think how much my grandfather would love this property. He was born in Malta. When he was fourteen he stowed away on a ship bound for Australia. I think he had Phoenician blood – “Falzon” is a Phoenician name. The Phoenicians were great seafarers and traders. Maybe that’s why I have a deep connection with the ocean and spend most of my time paddling around chasing and surfing waves. I feel at home in the sea. My grandfather would take a tram from Redfern down to Coogee beach every Saturday. One day he took me with him – it was the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean. It was incredible. A beautiful day and a wide blue horizon. He would swim in the ocean baths for hours – slowly up and down the pool – he had an amazing relaxed swimming stroke. Swimming was one of his great passions along with growing flowers and playing classical music. He had a wind-up gramophone and a bust of Mozart in his ground floor tenement apartment. When he went to the ocean pool he carried his towel, perfectly rolled up, under his arm.

joey  roo and buddha

The smell of coffee permeates the kitchen as I look out the window to see a white rabbit appearing for an early morning feed. I walk outside and call him, he runs over within throwing distance and I give him some grain bread. He runs off a few feet and seemingly hides from birds or other wallabies that may want to share his bread.

I phone a friend for an early morning eyes-on surf report. It is small and glassy, dropped off in size from the last few days of perfect autumn swell. Maybe I’ll go down for a look-see when the tide fills in a little. It’s such a beautiful day.


– Albe

8am Monday 12th March 2012

point break

 
Posted in Gratitude | 7 Comments

The Cosmic Sea

The Cosmic Sea

The Cosmic Sea

In love we find each other
Sows the seed of infinite kindness
The love that you see and feel, is that very you.
There is no other
It was never created
It will always be
It will never die
For it never began.
It sees you and I
Birth or death, it knows not,
Spinning infinitely, never at rest.
That’s the love you see and feel.
It calls you and me back to the cosmic sea.

 
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Mitchell Rae – Outer Island

Which way r ya going?
Which way r ya going?

In the early seventies, Mitchell and a few friends were sitting out at Kuta reef in Bali, waiting for the next set. Kuta was just a small coastal village with no paved roads, no tourists and just a handful of surfers. Idyllic beach breaks could be had all the way to Legian. It was a classic dry season day; trades fanned the overhead swell and the ocean was so transparent you could make out the colourful fish swimming around the reef. A large outrigger with Balinese paddlers approached. Sitting in the centre of the canoe was a white man, in a white suit and a Panama hat. After a few minutes observing the break he undressed, took a surfboard from the bottom of the boat, jumped off and paddled over to the line-up. He sat on the inside and took a set wave. It was Micky Dora. They had a friendly few hours surfing the reef together and, when Micky left, he invited them back to the Bali Beach hotel in Sanur – the only hotel at the time in Bali. He was staying on the top floor with two female companions, the view from the balcony overlooked Sanur reef and in the distance you could see another island, Nusa Lembongan. Micky treated them all on a “borrowed” credit card. Such were the mysterious travels of Micky Dora, one of the earliest surfers to taste the perfect waves of Bali.

Mitchell returned to Bali many times over the following years and honed his surfboard design skills surfing the reef waves there. Along with his mentor, Glenn Ritchie, Mitchell developed a fine eye for the subtle curves that make a surfboard blend perfectly with the curvature of each wave. His fine sleek boards, with the flex-tails that he developed, came to life on the flawless faces of the outer reef waves. Nusa Dua, Uluwatu and Padang Padang became the testing ground for his early surfboard developments.

Mitchell was so impressed by Bali and the Balinese that he incorporated the eyes, that adorn the fishing boats of Bali, to the rails and front of his own surfboard designs. “Balinese folklore instilled the belief that the ocean was filled with evil spirits, so the local fisherman, the majority of whom couldn’t swim, felt the eyes on the front of their canoes protected them from the spirits. – the spirit eyes I call them,” recalls Mitchell. “They encapsulate the quest for the higher level of the surfing experience. It also gives the board a bit of added life – sometimes you check them from different angles and they seem quite alive.”

Mctavish group photo
Mctavish group photo

Back in Australia, after an early stint building surfboards at Palm Beach, he and Glen moved to the open country space of Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbour, and that became their base for several years. The country soul lifestyle was blossoming – George Greenough, Chris Brock, Garry Keyes and Bob McTavish were living in an abandoned old farm house not far from Angourie, shaping their own boards in between surf sessions at the point. Nat Young had bought a farm not far from Broken Head. The exodus from the city was beginning as more surfers realised the incredible unridden point waves available on the north coast. Living was cheap and waves were plentiful. The hills of Byron were alive with the sound of surfers – all trading their conservative city lives for a “lifestyle” of country bliss.

The designs Mitchell and Glen developed in those early Nana Glen and Bali days, particularly the early exploration of concaves, are still relevant in board design today. They never tried to promote their designs, preferring to remain “underground” and rely on “tried and tested” and “word of mouth” to circulate their boards.

“My aim is to generate speed and to create a surfboard that has the ability to use it. The faster you go, the more you can do with your board. It’s about accessing more speed quickly. Concave flex-tails allow you to take off late on a wave, and just snap it around using the recoil energy of the flex – off one turn you can generate great speed,” says Mitchell.

Outer Island guns 1979
Outer Island guns 1979
1980 Pipemasters Epic Space Probe
1980 Pipemasters Epic Space Probe
Space-Probe-Profile
Space Probe Profile
Red spear Buddha Board
Red spear Buddha Board
Mitchell's buddha board
Mitchell's buddha board
Red spear Buddha Board profile
Red spear Buddha Board profile

Mitchell is probably one of the most underrated designers in the world today. His board are made to suit the individual surfer’s style – all are precisely hand-shaped and finished with loving care. To own and surf an Outer Island surfboard is equivalent to having a classic piece of art in your hands. Energetically, they are so far ahead of most factory boards produced today.

Buddha Stix
Buddha Stix

Recently, Mitchell hand-shaped a small, flex-tail fish, with a full iconic Buddha image on the bottom of the board, and Tibetan writing and the OM symbol on the top. Every aspect of the board was carefully and methodically made – even the hand-made fins had inlays of Tibetan writing in them. When checking the energetics of the board, its magnetic field reached out 14 metres from the board – most machine-shaped surfboards today would have a magnetic field closer to 2 metres. The subtle benefits of high-energy boards in the line-up are very healthy – not only for the surfers you are surfing with, but for your own well-being and enjoyment as well.

Over the past few years, Mitchell has moved more into painting canvases of tropical island scenes and perfectly shaped waves. Many of his boards are airbrushed with designs in keeping with the colours and flow of the ocean. He has maintained a high degree of spiritual integrity with his shaping and painting often under trying economic and financial restraints, and now is moving closer to his dream of shaping just a few boards each year – enough to keep his interest. He would be happy living in a grass shack somewhere in the tropics, painting images of waves breaking over coral reefs and beautiful Island vistas for the rest of his life, and somehow I think that dream is not far off. His family is growing up and moving out and it appears he will move out, as well. Or, rather, move back to the things he loves the most. God knows he deserves it.

board-in-desert-water
Desert & Board

 

Bali
Bali

 

Indo Window Art
Indo Window

 

moonlight-waves
Moonlight Waves

Mitchell has spent the best part of his life shaping surfboards so that others could enjoy what he loves most – surfing. He has comprised many waves in doing so. How he has survived in one of the most toxic industries is way beyond me but, in doing so, he has unknowingly built up an abundance of karma in providing hundreds of thousands of hours of happiness for others. And I am one of those who can never thank him enough for the creativity, the beauty and pure joy I received from his boards. Some of the most memorable and beautiful waves I have ever ridden were on his boards, at Sanur in Bali. I wonder if he realised, when he was with Micky Dora many years ago and overlooking Sanur reef from the top floor of the Bali Beach hotel, that his boards would be speeding down the line of those perfect barrels… Maybe he did. Maybe he knew all along that that’s what his boards were made for. Thanks Mitchell for taking me there.

Mitchell and I
Mitchell and I
 
Posted in Friends, Surfboards | 2 Comments

Playing for Change – Peace to the World Through Music

This is a great site www.playingforchange.com

About the site:
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us all as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.

On the site:
What we need is love – No more war
As we made our way around the world we encountered love and hatred. We met people both rich and poor, black and white, and from innumerable religious groups and ideologies. Over the course of our journey it became very clear that as a human race we need to transcend from the darkness to the light, and that music will be our choice of the future. This Song around the World features musicians who have seen and overcome conflict and hatred with love and perseverance. “We don’t need no more trouble, what we need is love.” The spirit of Bob Marley always lives on.

Stand by Me
Four years ago while walking down the street in Santa Monica, California the Playing for Change crew heard roger Ridley singing “Stand by Me “ from a block away. His voice, soul and passion set us on a journey around the world to add other musicians to his performance. The song transformed Playing for Change from a small group of individuals into a global movement for peace and understanding. This track features over 35 musicians collaborating from all over the world; they have never met in person, but in this case, the music does the talking.

 
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Mystery of The Ninth Moon

The Mystery of the Ninth MoonMystery of the Ninth Moon
By Tara White

About the book:

Deep in Shamballa, in the Himalayas, the Dalai Lama prepares to move up to a higher plane of consciousness. An astral spirit answers his prayers and appears. Full of love, devotion and wisdom, she comes as a faithful Labrador dog, Chakra. A missionary, a seer who can see the soul’s essence, Chakra is pure and divine wisdom.

Travelling to Australia, she finds Sophie Crystal, an Internet TV reporter and Elsie, a palmist, and awakens their destinies together. Seeing the vibrations and invisible colours and essences of life and the world, Chakra guides them to a belief in a higher and better world. Elsie and Sophie’s deep bond of friendship strengthens when Elsie meets Professor Dee, an expert on Eastern mysticism, who discovers Elsie owns a Tanka box containing ancient wisdom that can only be revealed in Shamballa. Journeying through the perilous beauty of the Himalayas, will they find complete enlightenment and happiness that will change their lives forever?

maitreya
Excerpt:

Chapter 1 – A Mysterious Visitor

In the deep heartland of mysterious Tibet, lonely windswept plains show their agonised faces through patches of frost, and the tattered prayer flags flap wildly in the eerie night to the mournful icy cry of the unrelenting Himalayan winds. A carpet of gleaming diamonds adorns the firmament. A billion Buddha lights give the harsh Tibetan Landscape a sense of purpose. Here, amongst the desolate, towering peaks, a secluded monastery stands silent, its form silhouetted by the few reddish butter lamps that hang nonchalantly around its cold, granite walls.

Yet, between the jeering, wild winds a soft drone is heard, its soft echo resounding in the depthless mountain canyons. The chanting leads into a huge, oblong-shaped hall, its massive stone walls decorated with images of golden Buddhas, looking down serenely onto a group of lamas and disciples huddled together for warmth. Huge, colourful paintings and banners of previous Buddhas gently sway and fold, giving them a surreal movement. Some of the paintings are so ancient that parts have withered away, leaving a bare brick wall – a sobering reminder that all is impermanent and transient.

To purchase this book, contact us.
Lake Manasarova

 
Posted in Books | 1 Comment

The Dharma

The Buddha Taught

The Buddha cracked the mystery of human suffering when he realised what he called “the three marks of existence” – three characteristics that apply to all human beings:

One, impermanence: nothing on earth endures in its present state forever: everything is temporary and changes.

Therefore, second, as long as we are attached to things and conditions that must inevitably change and cannot last, we will suffer.

And third, the cause of our suffering is craving that which is impermanent, including our desire to maintain our separated existence.

These three marks of existence, plus a map for finding our way out of this existence through the Eightfold Path, constitutes the Four Noble Truths. These are the essence of the Buddha’s teaching that he preached in his first sermon after he attained enlightenment, and they constitute the framework of his teaching over the remaining decades of his long life: that everything in manifestation is impermanent and therefore subject, some say, to decay – the ageless wisdom says to transformation; that to cling to, crave or desire the impermanent is to suffer; and the only release from suffering is to stop craving, clinging and desiring – anything and everything. The Buddha gave clear and precise instructions for how to accomplish this, and that’s why the religion that developed of his life teaching is called by its followers, not Buddhism, but “the dharma” – the law.

The Four Noble Truths

The pain of embodied existence, caused by constantly recurring births and deaths.

The cause of these sufferings lies in ignorance, in the thirst for self-gratification through earthly possessions, which drag after them the perpetual repetition of imperfect existence.

The cessation of suffering lies in the attainment of a state of enlightened all-inclusiveness, thus creating the possibility of conscious interception of the circle of earthly existence.

The path of cessation of these pains consists in gradual strengthening of the elements necessary for the annihilation of the causes of earthly existence and for approaching the great truth.

The Eightfold Path

Gotama divided the path to this truth into eight paths.

Right understanding (that which concerns the law of causes)
Right thinking
Right speech
Right action
Right living
Right labour
Right vigilance and self-discipline
Right concentration

 
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